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Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Friday, 07 November 2014 00:00

Primary Students Learn About Environmental Protection

Written by  Koh Poo Leng, Klang / Translated by Lee Ren Hui

Environmental protection volunteers visited SK (2) Jalan Batu Tiga to promote environmental protection. Volunteer Lee Sor Goh explained the environmental protection’s finger formula to the students. [Photograph by Lai Kin Hoong]

Environmental protection is a pressing issue, and it is just as pressing to instill the concept of environmental protection from a young age. Hence the programme, “Proactively promote good-neighbourly relations”, was launched. Tzu Chi volunteers will visit schools; and with the school’s permission, prepare a series of teaching materials related to environmental protection to teach students about environmental protection in a fun and interesting way.


 
On the afternoon of November 7, 2014, the unpredictable weather suddenly brought heavy rain. This has been nature’s fury over the abrupt change to our natural environment in recent years. Many man-made developments had destroyed our natural environment and it is obvious that human beings cannot cope with the sudden onslaught of natural disasters. The only solution to save Mother Earth is environmental protection.
 
Since October 2014, Tzu Chi’s environmental protection volunteers have taken the initiative to actively carry out the “Proactively promote good-neighbourly relations” programme by visiting schools in their community. After receiving enthusiastic response from SK (1) Jalan Batu Tiga on October 20, they grasped the opportunity to walk into SK (2) Jalan Batu Tiga on November 7, hoping to instill in the students the concept of environmental protection.
 
“Sampah, Sampah, Jangan Buang Sini Sana... (Rubbish, trash, do not simply throw here and there),” is a Malay adaptation of the Taiwanese song, “Everyone Do Recycling”. Under the guidance of Tzu Chi volunteer, Chew Siew Leng, students at SK (2) Jalan Batu Tiga happily learnt the sign language interpretation of this song on environmental protection. There was laughter amidst the sound of raindrops, and together they produced a harmonious duet between nature and mankind.
 
Happily learning about resource classification
 
The bus stand inside the school campus was piled up with bags of recyclables transported by volunteers from the recycling centre. These resources were utilized in teaching the students on resource classification, while also allowing them to experience the fun in classifying resources.
 
“This time, the environmental protection promotion is designed to allow students to understand the importance of resource classification. This is because the recycling bins set up in the school have not been put into good use. We also hope that by raising the students’ awareness, they can then influence their parents to participate in recycling. The ripple effect will be huge,” said Tzu Chi volunteer, Tan Tok,Ngoh. She hopes that environmental protection can be implemented in the community, and the best way is to start from the schools. That is why she even took leave from work to carry out this programme.
 
“Boys and girls, now let’s learn the environmental protection formula using our ten fingers - (Plastic) bottles, (glass) bottles, (aluminium) cans, (metal) cans, paper, batteries, one, three, five, seven. Great, let’s say it again?” As the rain started falling, volunteer Lee Sor Goh had to raise her voice to guide the students. Fortunately, the students were eager to learn, and the session ended smoothly.
 
“Students, well done, now let’s go over there to sort out some resources,” ushered Sor Goh.
 
Suddenly, the bus stand was transformed into a little environmental protection station, filled with questions from students, like “This cannot be recycled, where should I put it?” and “Aunty, is this the right place for this item?”
 
Eleven-year-old Avinessh a/l Ganesan was a fast learner in resource classification, and he even guided his peers. Avinessh comes from a poor family and he would always collect recyclables to sell to help his family make ends meet. When volunteers asked if he would lead his school friends in carrying out environmental protection, he shyly smiled and said, “I am still not very good at it, but will try to help.”
 
New knowledge on environmental protection: supply and demand
 
Inside the school hall, a small screen played a series of destructive disasters around the world due to global warming, like the melting Arctic ice, Typhoon Morakot in Taiwan, Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, and so on. Images of the aftermath of these disasters had left the students in awe. Volunteer Chew Siew Leng also shared photos on how she implements environmental protection at home. Through the footages and presentation, she hopes to instill a little of the environmental protection concept in these students.
 
“To advocate environmental protection, I will go where I am needed,” said Siew Leng with a smile, and students were attracted by her cheerfulness. As a housewife, she believes it is most important that environmental protection starts from the family, and gradually spread to the entire community.
 
Since 2008, Siew Leng has been involved in promoting and advocating environmental protection. She also knew that environmental protection needs to be done correctly from the beginning, and as such, she must do it diligently. She also hopes to have the school’s cooperation in promoting environmental protection in the campus in order to achieve desirable results.
 
Siew Leng earnestly shared, “Regardless of ethnic background and religion, I hope everyone on the planet can join hands in protecting the environment.”
 
At the back of the hall, School Principal, Madam V. Mallika, sat and listened to the environmental protection knowledge, along with the students. She considers the school her second home, and as such, should be kept clean and tidy. Therefore, she immediately gave permission for Tzu Chi volunteers to visit and promote environmental protection in her school when approached.
 
“Students are the future pillars of our society, so now is the best time to instill the knowledge of environmental protection in them. And by teaching them now, we hope that they can teach more people in the future,” said Principal Mallika.
 
She also added that the school has, in fact, started to advocate environmental protection by encouraging students to collect paper and newspapers. With this promotion, she plans to expand the scope of recyclable collection to include other items like aluminium cans, plastics, and so on, to achieve the full implementation of environmental protection in campus. 
 
“Students have learnt a lot from the two-and-a-half hour environmental protection promotion. I am really thankful to Tzu Chi volunteers for their dedication and hard work,” said a joyful Principal Mallika. She hopes that the school can further cooperate with Tzu Chi in the future to introduce students to more knowledge on environmental protection. 
 
Lastly, she shared, “The most important thing is to let students understand the close inter-relationship between ‘demand’ and ‘supply’. When there is demand for paper, trees would be chopped down; if there is no demand, there would be no such thing as supply.” 
 
 
Tzu Chi’s environmental protection volunteers took the first step to visit the school, hoping that the latter can respond to the call of environmental protection, with the students setting an example to guide and lead those around them, in order to create a clean and beautiful campus. Learning should not be confined to the textbooks, as life’s education and mental purification are also another avenue of learning!
 
 
Some 90 students gathered in the small school hall to learn about environmental protection. [Photograph by Lai Kin Hoong]   Students engaged in the “Everyone Do Recycling” sign language performance. [Photograph by Lai Kin Hoong]

Some 90 students gathered in the small school hall to learn about environmental protection. [Photograph by Lai Kin Hoong]
 
Students engaged in the “Everyone Do Recycling” sign language performance. [Photograph by Lai Kin Hoong]
 
Volunteer Chew Siew Leng led students on a journey of environmental protection in a lively and humorous way. [Photograph by Lai Kin Hoong]   Volunteers shared the fun of resource classification at the school’s bus stand. [Photograph by Lai Kin Hoong]

Volunteer Chew Siew Leng led students on a journey of environmental protection in a lively and humorous way. [Photograph by Lai Kin Hoong]
 
 
Volunteers shared the fun of resource classification at the school’s bus stand. [Photograph by Lai Kin Hoong]
 
Eleven-year-old Avinessh a/l Ganesan (in red shirt) is good at resource classification. He promised to help his teachers to promote environmental protection in campus. [Photograph by Lai Kin Hoong]   School Principal, Madam Mallika, is thankful to volunteers for their dedication and hard work, and hopes that Tzu Chi can organize more talks on environmental protection in the school. [Photograph by Lai Kin Hoong]

Eleven-year-old Avinessh a/l Ganesan (in red shirt) is good at resource classification. He promised to help his teachers to promote environmental protection in campus. [Photograph by Lai Kin Hoong]
 
 
School Principal, Madam Mallika, is thankful to volunteers for their dedication and hard work, and hopes that Tzu Chi can organize more talks on environmental protection in the school. [Photograph by Lai Kin Hoong]